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Destination I Do
Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Be Weather-Ready for Your Wedding

Words by Erica Jackson Curran
Photos courtesy of Hunter McRae Photography

Bad weather has the potential to derail any wedding, but the forecast takes on an entirely new threat when you're planning a destination wedding. Without the familiarity of your hometown or a well-known locale, you may not know what to expect at certain times of year. The solution: Be reasonably prepared for any kind of weather.

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I timed my own outdoor Charleston wedding in the fall to take advantage of the coastal city's most mild, enjoyable season. Instead, the South experienced a brief but powerful cold snap that left me shivering through the ceremony in a sleeveless lace gown (and my guests didn't fare much better). I hadn't even considered the possibility of cold weather, so I wasn't prepared to deal with it.

Don't make my mistake. Be ready for any situation with these simple tips.

Rain, Rain, Go Away
Unless you're planning a destination wedding in the Sahara, there's a moderate chance that your big day could be a wet one. First of all, you have to make peace with this idea in case it happens. Feel free to fantasize about your perfect day, but every now and then, imagine what it will be like if it's raining. Rather than picturing a ruined event, think about how you can make it fun!

Many people don't realize that rainy days make for some fantastic photo opps. The unexpected weather tends to encourage the wedding party and guests to loosen up and embrace the day regardless of the rain. You'll see the effects of this in fun photos where the bridesmaids gamely don a bright pair of boots or the bride and groom huddle together under a big umbrella. Be prepared with the items you'll need in case of rain, because you don't want to be scrambling to find them at the last minute. And don't forget to waterproof your hair and makeup, too.

Windy City
Many coastal destinations can get quite windy, and unexpected weather events can whip up winds all over the world. Though it can seem like a harmless threat, wind can wreak havoc on everything from your decorations to the bride's hair and the bridesmaids' dresses (Marilyn Monroe moment, anyone?).

Rather than letting the wind win, have a few items on hand that will help you stay grounded. For one, the bride and bridesmaids should have backup hairstyles planned in the event of high winds – soft, bouncing curls can quickly turn to a rat's nest after a few heavy gusts. Stock up on plenty of tape and weights for lighter outdoor décor, and you can even sew small weights into the hems of shorter skirts to keep them from flying up.

Hot, Hot Heat
If you're planning a wedding in popular destinations like Charleston, Italy or the Caribbean, an unexpected heat wave could make the day very uncomfortable for both the bride and groom and their guests. Rather than submit to the steamy sweatiness, be prepared with a few cool tricks.

A bit of shade will go a long way toward cooling guests, so try to arrange seating under a tent or offer parasols. Schedules that double as fans (just add a handle!) are an old-fashioned, but effective way to stop the sweat. Ice-cold drinks will also keep your guests hydrated, so either open up the bar early or provide a self-serve station for refreshing tea or lemonade as soon as they arrive. Be sure to stock the powder room with hot weather beauty necessities like wet wipes and blotting tissues.

Baby, It's Cold Outside
As I shared earlier, a cold snap can leave you and your guests shivering through the ceremony and spending the reception trying to warm up. While it's a fun way to huddle up and get cozy with your loved ones, it's much more enjoyable if you're prepared.

While guests can easily throw on a jacket and the men are in suits, the bride and her attendants should have cold-weather wardrobe adjustments, whether an elegant shawl that complements the gown or a glamorous fur stole. Guests don't always prepare accordingly, so provide a pile of blankets or pashminas for guests to wrap around their shoulders or drape across their laps. Consider adding a fire pit to an outdoor reception and asking your caterer to add cocoa or cider to the drink menu.

And if it snows? First of all, know that your wedding photos will be absolutely stunning against a white backdrop. Then, just make sure that you and your guests are able to make it to the wedding and be prepared to offer transportation assistance if needed.

Have you been to a bad-weather wedding? How did the couple deal with it? Share your experiences in the comments!

Erica Jackson Curran is a wedding-obsessed writer who has contributed to publications including Charleston Style & Design, Charleston Weddings, Virginia Bride and Breathe Magazine. She shares her creative wedding planning ideas on the blog at Wedding Paper Divas.

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